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The Sun blasts ‘brazen’ Chirac

LONDON, Nov 25 (AFP) – Britain’s best-selling Sun newspaper railed Tuesday at the sight of French President Jacques “the worm” Chirac inspecting British troops during his one-day summit visit to London.

“There are few more stomarch-churning sights than Le Worm strutting brazenly along a line of Grenadier Guards” before his summit talks Monday with Prime Minister Tony Blair, the euroskeptic tabloid said in an editorial.

It blamed Chirac – branded “Le Worm” during a particularly ferocious Sun campaign in the run-up to the Iraq war – for having “put the lives of 300,000 British and American troops at risk in Iraq.”

Chirac, who opposed the US-led invasion before UN arms inspectors had finished their work in Iraq, “isn’t fit to set foot on the same soil” that US President George W. Bush “graced last week,” it said.

The Sun stopped short, however, of expressing any outrage at plans – announced at the summit Monday – for Queen Elizabeth II to travel to France twice within three months in 2004.

She is to go first in April for the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, which ended decades of rivalry between the two nations, then again in June for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The conservative Daily Telegraph also had a go at Chirac, describing how, at the start of a press conference with Blair, the French leader “looked down, brow furrowed and preoccupied.”

“He had the detached, unimpressed look of a man dashing off a few Christmas cards in a quiet moment,” it said, failing to mention the trouble that Chirac was having with his simultaneous translation receiver.

The Times and The Guardian turned their attention on the novel gift that Blair presented to Chirac – a photo of the prime minister’s youngest son Leo, autographed by the three year old.

“Chirac’s gaffe over his little friend Leo,” read the front-page headline in The Times, reporting how Chirac “caught British officials by surprise” by “unexpectedly” showing off the framed picture to photographers.

The Guardian told of a “minority security scare in Downing Street” which has kept the youngest of Blair’s four children well away from the glare of publicity.


 Subject: French news